Crochet is a trendy fiber arts technique that uses crochet hooks and wool or thread. Different loops are formed and crocheted together to form blocks or patterns. In this project, buttercream is used to recreate a crochet design on a cake.
This cake was decorated in the rectangular stoneware dish in which it was baked, making this a fun gift to present together. Included in this free tutorial is an easy modeling chocolate flower that looks as if it has been knitted with a crochet hook.
In this step-by-step piping tutorial, I will show you how to create contemporary buttercream crochet.
Photos via Katrien’s Cakes
How to make a buttercream crochet cake
- 1 rectangular cake or quarter sheet cake of 9 x 13 inches (22.5 x 32.5 cm) (baked in a rectangular stoneware dish, cake tin or oven pan that can be presented as a gift)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml / 2 1/4 fl oz) sugar syrup
- 3 3/4 cups (1.01 kg / 937.5 ml) crusting buttercream; remove 1 cup (250 ml / 9 fl oz) of buttercream and divide it into four bowls to color
- 4 small piping bags
- 7 ounces (200 g) white modeling chocolate; color half of the modeling chocolate light purple and color the rest light green
- Use 1 tbsp (15 ml) crusting buttercream colored light blue to pipe on the flower
- Pastry brush
- Palette knife
- Wax paper, unpatterned kitchen towel or Viva towels
- Cake smoother or acetate
Copy my crochet design or any design of your choice onto paper, making sure that the design is small enough to fit in a 3 x 3 1/4 inch (7.5 x 8 cm) block. Cut out the inside of the crochet design, such as a flower, with scissors to use as a template.
Prick the baked cake all over with a toothpick and brush with sugar syrup.
Spread the cake with 2 3/4 cups (687.5 ml / 24½ fl oz) of buttercream with a palette knife. Let the buttercream crust for a few minutes and then smooth it by placing un-patterned paper towels or wax paper on the buttercream and smoothing it with a cake smoother or a piece of acetate.
Mark the top of the cake into even 3 x 3 1/4 inch (7.5 x 8 cm) blocks by using a ruler and a sterilized pin or toothpick to draw lines on the surface of the buttercream.
Place the crochet template on each block and trace the outline in the buttercream with a pin or toothpick.
Leave the cake to crust for at least an hour before piping on the colored buttercream. Otherwise, it could bleed into the plain white buttercream surface.
(You can find a complete step-by-step for crusting buttercream in our FREE PDF guide Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas.)
Divide the 1 cup (250 ml / 9 fl oz) buttercream into four bowls. Keep one bowl white and color the buttercream in the other bowls with purple, green and blue food coloring.
Spoon 15 ml (1 tbsp) of each color buttercream at a time into separate small piping bags.
Cut a small opening at the end of the green and purple piping bags and slightly bigger holes at the end of the blue and white bags.
Place a damp cloth over the bags when not in use so that the buttercream does not dry out.
Practice piping with the buttercream on a piece of paper to gain confidence.
Start piping the blocks in the center of the cake first, finishing each block completely before you move on to the next. This keeps your hand from pressing on the outside blocks and flattening the design, when piping. Turn the cake around while piping to make it easier to reach all areas and refill the icing bags as needed.
Working on one block at a time, pipe a purple or green zigzag circle inside the flower.
Next, outline the flower petals in chain stitches. To pipe chains, touch the tip of the icing bag to the surface of the cake and while applying steady pressure, pipe the icing in a circle to end where you started. Pipe these small loops above or below each other with purple or green buttercream.
For the links from the flower petals to the border of each block and for the frames around each block, pipe squiggly lines. To form squiggly lines, keep the tip of the bag on the surface of the cake while piping. Wiggle the bag slightly while piping. This will add to the rough woolly look of the design. Use white or blue buttercream for the squiggly lines, first piping the links and then the border.
Use a damp paintbrush to flatten any points on the loops and lines or to correct any mistakes. If you have made an error, wait for the buttercream to dry and then flick it off the cake with a toothpick or paintbrush.
Repeat these steps to fill all the blocks.
(There are many interesting buttercream piping techniques shown in the Craftsy course Simple Piping, Stunning Results with Amanda Rettke that you could use for this step.)
Use plain sugar syrup or infused with a flavor such as vanilla, lemon rind, coffee or chocolate to brush over your cake to add moistness.
Leftover buttercream can be frozen for another project.
How to make the crocheted flower:
Knead the modeling chocolate until it is soft.
Roll each color into a sausage and twist the sausages together.
Knead the two colors together until the paste is slightly marbled.
Pinch off five pieces of modeling chocolate of ½ ounce (15 g) each and roll them into balls.
Flatten each ball between your hands or with your fingers until you have five flat petals.
Place the petals in a circle, overlapping them and tuck the last petal underneath the first one.
Fill a small piping bag with light blue buttercream and pipe loops around the edge of each petal.
Lift the petals into a bowl lined with plastic wrap (cling film).
Repeat the steps with another five pieces of modeling chocolate of 1/3 ounce (10 g) each.
Place the petals in a circle and pipe loops around the edges of the petals.
Lift the petals onto the first row of petals. Press in the center of the petals to attach them to the first row. The modeling chocolate should easily stick to itself.
Pinch off five more pieces of modeling chocolate of 1/6 ounce (5 g) each.
Roll the pieces into balls and then flatten them as before.
Place the flattened petals next to one another overlapping them slightly.
Roll up the petals from one side to the other to form the center of the flower.
If the center looks too long, cut off the bottom with scissors.
Place the center in the middle of the second row of petals. If it does not feel secure, dab on some buttercream to attach it to the rest of the flower.
Pipe loops all around the center of the flower. Leave the flower for a few minutes to air dry and firm up.
Pipe a drop of buttercream on the cake and place the crochet flower on top.
The flower can be made up to two weeks ahead. Buttercream can be piped on the pre-made flower up to a day ahead.
To learn how to make other modeling chocolate flowers be sure to sign up for the Bluprint course Over-the-Top Modeling Chocolate with Kate Sullivan.
Mini loaf crochet cakes:
Bake mini loaf cakes in a mini bread loaf tin and cover your cakes with buttercream.
Using the above method, pipe crochet patterns on the surface of the loaf cakes with colored buttercream.
You might also enjoy our ball of yarn cake pop tutorial.